After much anticipation, yet relative ease, I've made my way to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  After a somewhat long wait in the customs line, I wearily wobbled towards the luggage carousel, and I'm sure the Avianca attendant standing near the belt instinctively knew I was in need of help.  He asked to see my baggage claim ticket and his brow instantly furrowed as he read aloud "American Airlines".  

"Your bags," he began apologettically, "are in Bogota."  Having been through this exact scenario more times than I care to count, and honestly just grateful that I was in Brazil, I willingly followed him to the counter without a fuss.  Wilson was very kind and apologetic and asked me about four times if I spoke Spanish, despite his competence of basic English.  It didn't really matter anyway.  I knew the drill.  They needed my baggage claim tags, and address in Sao Paulo where they could deliver the bags when they arrived, and my John Hancock.  

After a quick (and I mean basically non-existent) jaunt through declarations and bag inspection, I was bustled towards the exit of the airport.  To my great relief, a man holding a "Feld Disney" sign stood before me with a smile, and rushed towards me in concern when he saw I was without luggage.

Paulo, the show's promoter, had been sent to pick me up.  I liked him instantly as he lamented my long travel day, offered to carry my boulder of a backpack, and filled me in on the basics of Brazil.  

The traffic in the city center can be horrendous at times, backed up 200 miles, but with 17 million people, what can you expecct?  I told him about me speedy walk through declarations at the airport.  He said soon Brazil will have to tighten it's limitations of foreigners entering the country.  

"We have so many jobs, and not enough people to fill them, and Brazil shares borders with almost all South American countries, so they will all come here to work."  When I mentioned the dire straights of Michigan unemployment he was optimistic.  

"Yes, it might be rough now, but it won't last too long.  Brazilians, we've been through a few crises before and we know to not over worry.  It's not good to stress to much over financial business because then you end up spending less and putting less back into the economy.  Plus while the US is doing poorly, other countries are thriving and spending more on trips to the US, putting money into tourism.  It will all even out."  I really appreciate his attitude.  I hope all Brazilians are this positive!